UH, OH, THIS COULD COME TO BLOWS unless a cooler head steps in. I’ll see what I can do until that Sainted person arrives.
Yesterday morning at St. Arbucks the rack that is used to hold the various newspapers for sale disappeared. It didn’t take long to discover why.
I am completely innocent in all of this.
Every morning the early bird customers, AKA either “The Brain Trust” or “The Usual Suspects,” come in for coffee and they plop down in the corner like so many Hutts of Jabba. Several of them also like to pore over the newspapers. The burr under the saddle of the management is that none of them ever buy one of those newspapers. They just read them, occasionally cop a coupon, and then, more or less, refold the papers and put them back on the rack.
They are not always neat. Most mornings the newspapers look like they had spent the day at the bottom of a cockatoo cage.
The manager was not happy with this situation. His job is to sell those newspapers, not loan them out to a bunch of nearsighted Geezers. Every morning a new batch of newspapers is delivered and by 8 AM they are fit for nothing more than mosquito swatting. Paying customers are taking their informational business elsewhere.
The St. Arbucks staff, at the Manager’s direction, tried to explain this to us all – as if I am one of the guilty perusers. I had to speak up. I saw my goal to be “Peacemaker du Jour,” or at least “the spoon that stirs the pot.”
“Dear Barista, It’s not as if the Geezers are actually reading those newspapers. That’s asking a lot of them. They just look at the pictures and then put them back on the rack. All of the words are still there – in the same order – except for maybe the crossword puzzle. That gets messed up sometimes, but nobody in Terre Haute (That’s French for “My neighbor’s name is in the Police Blotter.”) really does the puzzle anyway.
My attempts at Peacemaking fell on hairy ears. Nobody gave my words much weight. Why should that day have been different from any other day?
I stepped back and washed my hands of the entire affair. There was newspaper ink smudged all over my fingertips. My efforts came to naught.
It all turned into a staring match between the Geezers and The Staff for the next few minutes. The BIC – the “Barista – In – Charge” glared at the retired Chiropractor and the Pickle Ball Champion. They stared back at her until it all became kind of creepy. I figured that I had to do something – again.
“Half a League, Half a League, Half a League Onward! Into the Valley of the Wall Street Journal rode the 150 over 80 BP guy in the corner.”
I held up my arms in a conciliatory pose and tried to find the right words:
“How about them Cubbies?”
A little incongruity can go a long way.
The absolute irrelevancy of my words jarred both sides of the minefield. The Brain Trustees shook their heads and drifted back to their coffees and, ahem, newspapers. The BIC looked at me like I was a stray cat that had sneaked in with the milk delivery. She then took one last look at me before going to the “Back Room”, retrieving the newspaper rack and emphatically putting it back in its place of honor.
Church Bells rang, doves flew over the land and little French children posed for tourists once again. Peace spread throughout the Diocese of St. Arbucks.
Until tomorrow anyway.